North Carolina AG Wants Law and Order

( – Republican officials are usually the ones pushing for more law and order, but North Carolina Democrat Attorney General Josh Stein wants state lawmakers to take up a package of bills to address crime and related problems.

But his approach to issues such as gun crime is likely to be met with disapproval from the other side of the aisle. 

On May 1st, Stein listed a number of policy goals he wants the legislature to work on, but this came just three days before a legislative deadline. Any bills that deal with subjects other than taxation, state spending, or elections are unlikely to get considered during the remaining time in this year’s legislative calendar. 

Stein wants to address gun violence, the opioid epidemic, and North Carolina’s backlog of rape cases. On guns, he asked lawmakers to fast-track efforts to require universal background checks on all gun sales, as well as “red flag laws.” Those are laws that allow police to temporarily seize guns from an individual believed to be mentally unstable or likely to engage in imminent violence. 

Critics of red flag laws say they do not trust those making decisions to be objective, and they fear such laws will be used to arbitrarily seize guns from those with unpopular views. 

Republicans in general don’t approve of universal background checks or red flag laws, though they do agree with Democrats on issues such as safe and responsible gun storage. The GOP has a veto-proof majority in the North Carolina House and Senate, so any bills that would institute these measures are unlikely to succeed. 

But Stein said gun violence is an urgent problem, and the state should take immediate action instead of waiting for another school shooting to occur. 

There are other areas of agreement between left and right. One chamber has already passed bills that classify novel synthetic drugs as “controlled substances”, and that make it a felony to possess equipment that can make fake prescription pills. 

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